Orange, CA - Former IBF bantamweight world champion Yonnhy "El Colombiano" Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs), who is set to clash against former two-division world champion Vic "Raging Bull" Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs) as the co-feature of "The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All" discusses his experience with training for the first time is his native homeland of Cartagena, Colombia.
Here is what he had to say upon arriving to Los Angeles late last Sunday:
How was training in Colombia?
Training in Colombia was great. I am strong and I have my speed back. I am doing everything to get back into the limelight and into a title contention position. The fight with Abgeko was a great learning experience for me and I don't want that to happen ever again. I never cut any corners during this or any other training camp so I feel sharp and in great shape to face Darchinyan on April 23.
How is training in Colombia different from training in the U.S.?
Well, there are a lot of obvious differences. The weather in Colombia was excruciatingly hot, but I am used to it. I would rather have this than Air Conditioning. I enjoyed the humidity of Cartagena. I began my days at the gym much earlier and I also had a huge selection of sparring partners, I was in my element, close to my wife and kids, close to my parents and siblings. That is what made me train even harder while I was there.
Were you staying home with your wife and kids or were you apart from them?
I was home with my sons Mateo and Yonnhy Jr., and I was helping my wife with the day-to-day upbringing of our children. I have not been home for a long period of time and I have missed a lot of my kid's activities. So when they had me home recently they and I was able to take Yonnhy Jr. to school and help take care of my 2-year-old Mateo who is a handful.
What is going on with the construction of your new house? Were you involved with that?
My wife was involved and doing everything by herself. It was too much for her as the building is almost finished. When I was there I would get up and go running at 4:30 am, then get to the gym after I would drop off my nine-year-old son at school and I supervise the construction and get the needed materials right around lunch time. I was involved, as much as possible, in every detail and the 4-unit complex will look great once is completed.
What in particular are you doing to prepare yourself mentally and physically for Vic Darchinyan?
It isn't an easy task to prepare for Darchinyan. He has an unorthodox style, he is a great champion and a heavy handed opponent. I just need to stay focused and listen to my trainer, my manager and promoters. They have laid the path for me and it has worked thus far. Physically I will be ready and I am preparing myself to go to war with a great champion with the conviction that I will be the last man standing.
How has training in Colombia affected your family?
It has affected us all in a positive way. It was extremely difficult to be away from home in Los Angeles away from my family. I have my LA family that has been there for me, they are the Zamora family that took me in and made me part of their life. I will never forget that and I will always thank them for it, but I was growing apart from my most important treasure, my wife and kids, and by being back in Colombia put us back to where we need to be - we have each other like it should be. My trainer, Danny Zamora, made the effort to come to Colombia and start camp there; he left his 2-year-old twin boys home and is sacrificing. But if I needed inspiration or a real meaning to what I do, it's all there at home. I will have been in Los Angeles for a month before the fight so now that I am back I am fine-tuning myself and Vic will have his hands full on April 23.